Wis 2:12, 17-20; Ps 54:3-4, 5-6 and 8 (R.v.6b); Jam 3:16 – 4:3; Mark 9:30-37

In our reflection last Sunday, we discovered the identity of Jesus as the suffering messiah and his call on his followers to carry their crosses and come after him. We finally noted that one way to carry that cross well is by denying ourselves some pleasures for the good of others in need.

The liturgy of today focuses on that note of helping the less privileged but with an additional warning against envy and jealousy which lead us into harmful inordinate ambitions that seek to destroy than to build.

Remember that in our reflection last Sunday, Jesus made the first prediction of impending passion. Today, in the Gospel, he repeated the prediction a second time. That prediction is the connection we see between the Gospel and the First Reading. And from the additional information which the First Reading gives us, we see that the suffering is generated from the P.H.D – Pull Him Down syndrome we see in men.

Why do we want to pull others down? It is because we want to be the ones who lead. It is a good thing to desire leadership. Unfortunately, what controls that desire in many of us is the inordinate ambition which St. James noted in the Second Reading as a bad catalyst.

Jesus corrected that bad ambition in his disciples and pointed out that leadership is for service. This service takes us back to the call to help the less privileged, which Jesus represented with the children in the Gospel.

What is the reason for your desire to lead? Is it borne out of the desire to serve others as Jesus wishes? Do not let the answer to be blowing in the wind. Bring it home to yourself so that it may bear the necessary fruit of change in what needs to be changed in you.

Finally, note a wonderful addition that Jesus makes to that passion prediction. His passion would not end in death; he would rise again (Mark 9:31). That reminds us once more that the Lord would not abandon the righteous to suffer extinction at the hands of the wicked. If you have been suffering for doing good, do not worry, the Lord is at your side to lift you up in the end.

May Jesus transform us to remember at all times that leadership is for service and change our leaders who are yet to embrace this understanding. May he also deliver us from the hands of all that come against us for his name’s sake. Amen.

Happy Sunday to you. Peace be with you.

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